By JOE WALLJASPER , Associated Press
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Wendell Mitchell scored 20 points to help Texas A&M erase a 12-point, second-half deficit and beat Missouri 68-59 on Saturday.
TJ Starks scored 15 points, Christian Mekowulu added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Savion Flagg finished with 12 points for the Aggies (9-13, 2-8 Southeastern Conference).
Javon Pickett led Missouri (11-11, 2-8) with 15 points, and Torrence Watson and Jordan Geist each scored 12. Junior forward Reed Nikko, making his first career start, finished with a season-high eight points.
The Aggies trailed 30-21 at halftime, largely because they committed 10 turnovers against Missouri’s sagging man-to-man defense that ranks next-to-last in the SEC in steals. The Tigers expanded the lead to 12 points on a Watson 3-pointer with 17:39 left.
Starks sparked a Texas A&M comeback by blowing by defenders and converting drives to the basket. Flagg’s 3-pointer in transition gave the Aggies the lead at 46-44 with 7:23 remaining. They pulled away late as Missouri frittered away offensive possessions with 10 second-half turnovers.
The Tigers’ second- and third-leading scorers did not play. Sophomore forward Jeremiah Tilmon missed the game because of emergency wisdom teeth removal on Saturday, a team spokesperson said. Sophomore guard Mark Smith missed his fifth straight game after spraining his ankle on Jan. 23.
Missouri: This was the second time in SEC play the Tigers squandered a double-digit second-half lead at home. On Jan. 26, Missouri led LSU by 14 points with just over two minutes left in regulation and lost in overtime.
Texas A&M: The Aggies, who were playing without key reserve Josh Nebo because of a leg injury, broke a six-game SEC losing streak and avenged a 23-point home loss to Missouri on Jan. 19. Nebo, a 6-foot-9 junior forward, had posted double-doubles in points and rebounds in two of his last three games, but the Aggies were able to survive with a smaller lineup.
Missouri: The Tigers face Arkansas on Tuesday at home.
Texas A&M: The Aggies play host to Georgia on Tuesday.